Round-Up: Lionhead Apology, Majesco for DS, Tecmo's Lawsuit
- Lionhead founder Peter Molyneux has posted an open letter on the official Lionhead Studio forums, partially apologizing for some of the in-development comments he made regarding Xbox-exclusive Fable, the Big Blue Box-developed game shepherded to completion by the Populous creator. Molyneux explained: "If I have mentioned any feature in the past which, for whatever reason, didn't make it as I described into Fable, I apologise. Every feature I have ever talked about WAS in development, but not all made it." He concluded: "I am considering not talking about games as early [in development] as I do.". Previous comments from Molyneux included the more overarching suggestion: "Project Ego [the previous name for Fable] is going to be the greatest role-playing game of all time", but the excellent initial sales for the title might give him pause for thought before deserting the entirety of his hyperbole.
- U.S. publisher Majesco has officially announced its first two Nintendo DS titles, Moonlight Fables and Nanostray, both from Western developers, and both featuring touch screen input, multiplayer network play and dual screen support. Nanostray is a "3D sci-fi shooter" from German-based Iridion creators Shin'en, and Moonlight Fables is a "side-scrolling, action/adventure title" from mysterious Irvine-based developers Cyber Philharmonic Video Game Design. However, both titles are due to debut in 2005, perhaps indicating that, if the Nintendo DS launches in late November as scheduled, and other creators are at similar stages in the development process, there may be some initial paucity of third-party titles.
- Tecmo has succeeded in a Japanese Supreme Court battle against a small game publisher called Westside, who developed and released Japan-only unofficial add-on discs for Tecmo's Dead or Alive 2 which removed the clothes of popular in-game character Kasumi. According to the Supreme Court decision, the move "created a violation of the copyright law by allowing game buyers to use the [Westside-created] software." This decision mirrored a District Court decision of 2002, and awarded Tecmo damages of 2 million yen ($18,000). Tecmo has also expressed concern about Xbox hacking exploits which have allowed similar nude patches for Dead Or Alive 3 and Dead Or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball, and warned users of possible legal action via its official site, but since no actual company has distributed these unofficial patches, a stern warning is all that has been possible in this case.
- Bill Gates has tangentially mentioned Microsoft's plans for future Xbox online features during a conversation with Dean Richard Newton at University of California, Berkeley, according to reports from InformationWeek.com. When asked what Microsoft products he's most looking forward to, Gates mentioned that he's especially anticipating new networked features for the Xbox, particularly the ability to assemble large audiences of online spectators to view games being played online. Coincidentally, news of a Microsoft job posting to help create "a spectator mode for many Xenon games, Xbox TV, with tickers at the bottom of the screen featuring recent high scores and game highlights" was revealed earlier this week, and Gates' mention of the feature shows how seriously Microsoft are likely to be pushing the concept in the future.